Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Jadite Glassware

Howdy Folks,

Today starts what I hope will be a long running weekly post on Reviews of Antiques and Collectibles. To start this off, I thought I’d write a little review on Jadite. As you probably know by now, I love old glass. Just can’t seem to get enough of it, and one of my favorites is the old Jadite glassware. Thanks to Martha Stewart, Jadite has become one of the most collectible of all of the vintage glassware. Folks have seen it on her show, and it popularity has skyrocketed. Ever the “entrepreneur,” Martha now sells her own line of Jadeite glassware made by the Fenton Glass Company.

Purists, however, are more interested in the vintage Jadite, so that’s what I’ll talk about here. The term Jadite (also known as “Jade-ite”, the Anchor Hocking line of Jadite) was first used by the Jeannette Glass Company, and actually refers to the color of the glass, and not the material, or the pattern. Jadite is an opaque milky sea foam green glass, sometimes slightly opalescent, that was used primarily in restaurants, and later, as its popularity grew, in homes as dinnerware. It was (and is) a heavy, durable dinnerware, and was often used as giveaway gifts packaged with various products. From the 1930’s until today, Jadite has been produced by a number of companies, each under their various pattern names, and each varying in shades of sea foam green. Perhaps the most popular of the vintage Jadite produced, had been made by Anchor Hocking (under their Fire King line), Jeannette Glass, and McKee (which they called “Skokie Green.” These are often marked “mcK” although some came with decals.), with Anchor Hocking’s Fire King Jadite being perhaps the most well known, and most collected.

The Hocking Glass Company merged with the Anchor Cap Company in the mid 1930’s, and the newly formed company began producing and marketing glass ovenware that would stand up to the high temperatures of cooking and baking. This new line by Anchor Hocking was called “Fire King.” It was offered in a variety of styles, patterns, and colors. Their version of Jadite, known as “Jade-ite” quickly became their most popular color.

Among the Fire King Jadite patterns are:

Alice: Alice featured a nice floral embossing with a short ribbed design, and is one of Fire King’s oldest patterns. According to my research, only cups, saucers, and plates were produced in this pattern.

Philbe: The Philbe pattern is very difficult to find, as it was made for only two years. It features leaf flourishes and fluer de lis around a circular pattern of buttons and leaves. It is a very ornate pattern which adorns several different pieces and comes in several different colors including Jadite.

Charm: Perhaps the most difficult pattern to find in Jadite, this square pattern was manufactured by Fire King from 1950 – 1954.

Restaurant Ware. Produced by Fire King from 1950 to 1956, this is the most well-known Jadite pattern. It is highly collectible and often sells at premium prices. It is a very simplistic utilitarian pattern, without any fancy floral or geometric designs. Usually quite heavy, and found in a wide variety of pieces, including plates, platters, coffee mugs, and bowls, just to name a very few.

Both McKee and Jeannette also produced some opalescent Jadite pieces in the 1930’s and 40’s. This type of Jadite was made by adding uranium or dioxide to the glass and then heating the glass while adding other chemicals. Although the manufacture of opalescent Jadite ended during World War II, there have been some newer opalescent pieces made as well. When the newer pieces, are compared with the old ones, the inconsistencies found in the newer pieces are readily seen.

Jadite glassware can be found in a variety of styles and items, everything from plates and platters, bowls and pitchers, cups and mugs, refrigerator dishes, pie plates, reamers, door knobs, canisters, just to name a few.

Other patterns available in Jadite include Jane-Ray, Shell, Colonial, and Swirl.

With the exception of the very rare items, Jadite is fairly easy to find. I have found it in yard sales, flea markets, estate auctions, and once even in a pile of trash left over from an estate sale! It is always best to do your research, however, especially with the large number of reproductions and newer items now available due to the high demand for Jadite pieces. There are several good reference books available, and it always pays to check eBay’s completed listings to learn what Jadite pieces are currently going for online. Also, it is a good idea to learn how to date Jadite pieces at a glance. This can helps you to avoid purchasing a reproduction or newer piece from an unscrupulous seller. Here’s a quick guide that you can cut and paste and print up to take with you on the road when searching for old Fire King Jadite pieces.

Dating Fire King Jadite by the Maker Mark:

1942 - 45 = FIRE-KING in block letters



Mid to late 1940's = OVEN Fire-King WARE MADE IN U.S.A. ("Fire-King" is written in script lettering)

1951-1960 = ANCHOR HOCKING OVEN Fire-King WARE MADE IN U.S.A. ("Fire-King" is written in script lettering)

1960 - late 1960's = ANCHOR HOCKING OVEN Fire-King DINNERWARE MADE IN U.S.A. ("Fire-King" is written in script lettering)

late 1960's- early 1970's = ANCHOR HOCKING OVEN Fire-King OVEN-PROOF MADE IN U.S.A. ("Fire-King" is written in script lettering)

Mid To Late 1970's = ANCHOR HOCKING OVEN Fire-King Suburbia OVEN-PROOF MADE IN U.S.A. ("Fire-King" is written in script lettering)

Please also note that markings on the bottom with dashes, bumps, and numbers are mold marks and batch numbers. They neither add nor detract from the value. Items marked “Oven Glass” are not necessarily rare, although they are less common than pieces marked “Oven Ware.” Logos that are printed backwards although unusual, are also not necessarily rare. These are often found on pie plates. Also remember, that just because a sellers tells you the logo is rare, it probably isn’t. With Fire King Jadite pieces, as with all vintage glassware, the rarity is more dependant upon the quantity or number of the pieces made by the manufacturer and their current availability. So be careful not to overspend when a seller tells you the logo is rare.


There are many reproduction and “fantasy” pieces of Jadite currently being sold on eBay and through other venues, and they are being sold as “vintage” and “rare.” Please note, however, that many of the sellers of these items have been duped themselves, and they don’t really know that they are selling repro’s and fantasy items. So don’t come down too hard on them. Just remember to do your research to you aren’t taken as well. I think a quick note on terminology is needed here. A “Reproduction” is a piece that has been manufactured (usually recently and in mass) that is designed to be a copy of an original vintage piece. A “Fantasy” piece, is an item that has been put together using two or more vintage original pieces, to create an new piece that was never made by the original manufacturer. An example would be an original canister bottom coupled with an original sugar bowl lid (not necessarily of the same pattern), to create a covered grease jar or candy jar or cookie jar. You get the picture.

Newer reproductions are being made in China and Brazil, and new pieces are being made by the Mosser Glass Company, the Fenton Glass Company (who produce the Martha Stewart line of Jadite), and others. Again, your best bet is to buy yourself (or check out from your local library) some good collector’s books, do your research, and learn to properly identify true vintage pieces. Also, knowing which pieces were made by which companies will also help in identifying vintage pieces.

Storing Your Vintage Jadite:

It is always important to take good care of your vintage glass and pottery, including your vintage Jadite. Here are a few simple rules to follow that will help ensure your vintage Jadite collection stays “healthy.”

  1. Don’t Stack Your Glass! This just invites chips, cracks, flea bites, and scratches. However, if you absolutely must stack, always place an inexpensive paper towel or napkin between the pieces to acts as a buffer.

  1. Never Wash in the Dishwasher! Always hand wash your vintage glass and pottery. Dishwashers utilize high heat in both the washing and drying cycles, and when combined with today’s strong detergents, will almost always produce etching and scratching and even cracks! Also, glass has a tendency to get “sick” when washed in the dishwasher. “Sick” glass is recognized by a cloudy and or iridescent appearance on the glass, and is caused by the dishwashing detergent and high heat drying cycle. Although etched and “sick” glass can be repaired, it is not only difficult and costly, but it is not always effective.

Remember to protect your investment by using common sense when handling, cleaning and caring for your vintage glass and pottery!

Prices are going sky high for authentic vintage Fire King Jadite, and although not as quickly, they are also rising for the vintage McKee and Jeannette Jadite as well. I am including some recently completed eBay listings here for vintage Jadite:

1. Original Fire King Jadeite Ball Jug Tilt Pitcher. 2 Bids, Sold for $405.00


3. RARE Jadite TARGET Line Ball Pitcher 80 Oz.(Reserve not met). 16 Bids, Highest Bid was $2,550.00, and this piece had 285 views!

4. Lot of 11 VINTAGE FIRE KING Restaurant ware JADEITE OVAL PLATTERS. 15 Bids, Sold for $305.00. This lot had 210 views!

5. RARE BEADED AND BAR JADE-ITE FIRE KING MILK PITCHER. 14 Bids, Sold for $200.00, and had 70 views.




Well, that's it for my first Antiques and Collectibles Review post. I hope you found it both enjoyable and informative. I'll catch up with y'all tomorrow, and if you get a chance, don't forget to check out my eBay auctions & store, and also my Bonanzle Booth. Take care all, and I hope you have a great day.


Whiskey Jack

Today's Word of Wisdom: "The best sermons are lived, not preached."


Cheri said...

This is a fact filled post. Thank you for sharing it. I've printed your Quick Guide and will be going to my local Antique shop on the way home from my very busy job. So busy, I found time to visit your site!



Whiskey Jack said...

Thank you very much for the kind words Cheri! I hope you are able to come back and visit again.
All my best,
Whiskey Jack

Unknown said...

I bought the exact "Charm" vegetable serving bowl that is pictured above but it has no brand markings on the bottom, only a cut glass circular pattern. Could it be a knockoff?

Whiskey Jack said...

All Fire-King pieces will have the Fire-King marking on the bottom. Your bowl could be a reproduction piece, or a copy made by another company. But without the Fire-King marking on the bottom, it is not a Fire-King piece. I hope this helps.
My Best Always,
Whiskey Jack

Sandy Schofield said...

Please don't take offence but we've collected FireKing for over 40 years there is several pieces without FireKing logo. Gene Florence FireKing are excellent reference books.

Whiskey Jack said...

No offense taken Sandy. After collecting Fire King for over 40 years, I'd say you have far more experience with it than I have. Thanks for correcting me on this.
Best Regards,
Whiskey Jack